Rioting After Police Limit Muslim Access to Temple Mount
Tens of Palestinian Arab youths rioted at the Temple Mount Sunday morning, after police limited Muslim access to the Mount after another series of clashes on Saturday night.
Police have dispersed the riot and arrested 24 rioters; two officers suffered light injuries.
The Temple Mount has now been closed to all visitors, including Jews.
Breaking the Calm
Earlier Sunday, Jerusalem police have limited Muslim access to the Temple Mount again, after Arab youths attempted to riot yet again at Judaism's holiest site.
Five Arab youths were arrested late Saturday night, after they tried to scale the eastern wall of the Temple Mount compound and were found with tear gas in their possession. The teens were taken in for questioning.
Police Commander Yossi Pariente made the decision to limit access to the Mount early Sunday, announcing that only Muslims with a blue teudat zehut, or Israeli ID card, would be allowed to enter the Mount for the remainder of the day, and only men over 50 and women of any age.
Extra police forces have also been deployed throughout the Old City of Jerusalem since early Sunday morning, police announced, in a move to keep the highly congested area calm on the eve of the final day of the Passover holiday and on the Christian holiday of Easter.
A New Trend?
This the the second time in one week that access to the Temple Mount has been limited for Muslim visitors, after a series of clashes between Hamas terrorists and Palestinian Arab youths with Israeli police forces broke out at Judaism's holiest site last week.
The Temple Mount was closed to visitors by police on Thursday following rioting by Muslims in the area for "Prisoners Day," in which thousands of Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza demanded the release of Israeli-held terrorists. Those protests turned violent in Hevron, where police and soldiers were attacked with rocks.
Six Arab youths in Jerusalem were arrested on Thursday, over suspicion of being involved in rioting on Wednesday at the Temple Mount, when firecrackers and rocks were hurled at police.
Following the rioting on Wednesday, Dov Kalmanovitz, the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, demanded that police close the Temple Mount to Arab visitors for the rest of the day.
However, police instead closed the holiest site in Judaism to Jews for Wednesday and Thursday, sparking outrage among government ministers. MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) argued that the Israeli government had "abandoned the Temple Mount to the Hamas regime."